What words cannot achieve, a simple smile can! A humble gesture of acknowledgement, acceptance as well as assurance, a smile goes a long way in winning hearts. The 24th Chapter of Hemadpant’s Satcharita reveals Baba’s humorous side, his humane and human approach to matters which would result in aggressive rows. Baba Sai’s knack of driving home very significant lessons of life albeit in a light-hearted manner is what readers witness! It’s easy for the listener!
Let’s dive into the depths of this humour laced chapter which hides four rather salient learnings in the folds of its pages.
The book: Shree Sai Satcharita Author: Shri Govind Raghunath Dabholkar alias Hemadpant alias Annasaheb
Chapter 24 Splendid Humour
SUMMARY: Elegantly written four short occurrences tell much about the correct way of living! The first one is about Hemadpant himself. Totally immersed in massaging Baba’s legs, concurrently chanting God’s name, Hemadpant is caught unawares when Shama sees a few grains rolling off his coat sleeve on to the floor! As soon as Shama questions him, the other bhakts notice a few more grains tumble, down to the astonishment of the perplexed man. On closer examination, the bhakts realise that the 25 grains they had collected were those of grams! This gives birth to twitter about Hemadpant eating alone; Sai too is drawn into this discussion. Wisdom incarnate, Baba speaks, “He has a bad habit- that of liking to eat alone……(Ovi 33). Sai continues, “ It is not good to eat alone. But I know his habit. These grams give the proof. What is there to be surprised about ?” (Ovi 34)
Stunned by Sai’s words, Hemadpant springs to self-defence denying profusely that he ever ate alone if someone was around! The opportunity had presented itself and Sai availed it! Immediately He asks Hemadpant if ever the man had offered even a morsel although Sai was near him all the time! Did Hemadpant think once about Baba before putting food in his own mouth? The bhakt was stumped! So were the others!
The second narration which runs on similar lines as above is about Sudama and Krishna. Krishna, his head on Sudama’s lap, hears a munching sound and asks his friend, Sudama, about it. The friend who is ravenous and is unwilling to share the grams which Guru maa had given for everyone, pretends his teeth are chattering. Krishna aware of the ongoing, dismisses it as a dream he had just had- that of someone saying he was eating dust and perchance that is exactly what happened to the food! Gently, Krishna told Sudama about the consequences of hiding the truth, but the man failed to understand; unfortunately, Sudama had to lead a rather penurious life and return to his friend Krishna for help in the future.
Incident three takes place when subtly, Baba triggers a quarrel and later resolves it!
When Damodar Ghanshyam Babre, better known as Anna Chinchanikar, was serving Baba together with an elderly lady, Venubai Kaujalagi (fondly called Mavashibai or aunt) accidentally their faces come rather close to each other. Venubai cracks a joke. Assuming an accusatory tone, she suggests that Anna is trying to kiss her! Anna known for calling a spade, a spade, goes off the handle and an argument ensues between the two. The other bhakts are amused on seeing two elderly folks in a quarrelsome mode and eagerly wait for the entire episode to roll out, as does Baba. When things begin to get a little out of hand, Baba Sai casually makes a remark, “I do not understand what impropriety is there when the mother is kissed.” (Ovi 119). A peal of laughter echoes in the masjid mayi. The charged atmosphere was made tranquil! Baba had diffused an explosive situation, simultaneously driving home the lesson: “Waves of reaction depend upon the imagination and the understanding.” (Ovi 123) How true Hemadpant ji.
The last occurrence is also about the same Mavashibai. She had assigned herself the task of kneading Baba’s stomach and abdomen area. Wrapped in love for her Guru, she would get so carried away that to the observers it would seem that the stomach and back were literally being slapped together with force. This is what she was doing when Anna’s face came close to her and on another occasion, she earned a bhakt’s adverse comment. He asked her to be careful and not hurt Baba Sai. No sooner than these words were out, Sai flew into a rage and picking up his satka stuck one end into his abdomen and the other to a pillar. Applying full force Baba thrust forward, to the horror of the onlookers. Everyone felt His stomach would rupture any minute. Thankfully in a few moments, like the fizz of soda, Baba cooled down and settled back on his gaddi (seat). The devotee who had expressed his concern for Baba backed off, deciding never to interfere in another person’s matter!
Baba Malik and His ways! 😊
INTERPRETATION: 4 stories, 4 beautiful, practical lessons for life. Applicable to anyone and everyone!
- It seems this one was created by Baba at the opportune time. Baba’s sport, His conjuring the grams on Hemadpant’s person, even when the man had not gone anywhere near the Sunday village market of Shirdi that day, drives home a very significant point. Always remember the Almighty before partaking anything. Be it food or any other acquisition. In doing so, we tend to declare that whatever we have actually belongs to the Lord and if that be the case we are no longer the owners, so then how can we be the keepers? Food, clothes, riches, shelter, material acquisitions or emotions everything belongs to God. It is such a surrender that brings us closer to the Divine. Why so? Since our attachment to anything and everything ends. If attachment ends then who can stop us from being liberated? Little joy at gaining something or contrastingly, pain at its loss. When we attain this stage, we experience pure bliss, away from the control of our senses. A difficult one this, but that’s what Baba wanted Hemadpant and all the bhakts, including us to understand. The lesson was given through food, but it extended to much more, perhaps every aspect of life. In doing as Sai said, surrendering in totality we become humble enough to acknowledge the Lord’s supremacy.
- Sudama’s story is a clear indication of God being aware of everything and so we must hide nothing from him. If we do so, the word “Tathastuta” (So be it) leads us into grave trouble making circumstances worse than they were intended to be! Virtues of honesty, truth and sincerity between friends are a case in point here. Furthermore, thought is karma! Sudama’s thought, his action of falsehood became a karma for which he had to pay later in his life! So, God doesn’t really punish us, it is we who ourselves determine the course of our life through what we think, say or do!
- One’s thoughts determine one’s actions and intent. Anna and Mavashibai’s story tells the readers that a situation can be managed with tact, with better understanding and a little bit of on the spot reflection. How one perceives an occurrence can render it harmless or lead to a flare-up! And don’t we know this so well, living in times when the trivial assumes disproportionate sizes and is magnified to cause much hatred, vehemence and negativity. What can be controlled should never be allowed to go out of bounds much less attain unmanageable proportions.
- The final story might as well have conveyed a terse yet harsh truth: MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS! That is if the person does not ask for help or advise avoid offering the same. Speaking out of turn or at unsuitable times can lead to a turn around in an otherwise normal scenario. The outcome? An absolute contrast to the intended original! Hence, avoiding unnecessary conflict brings and ensures peace- both of mind and at the place.
For Summary and Interpretation of: Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23